The Practical Conclusion

Mere Christianity Book 2-What Christians Believe
Chapter 5: The Practical Conclusion

Lewis writes that we inherited an old life from our parents. The old way of thinking, believing, and living. The old way of self. Jesus comes and brings a new life, but how is that new life experienced? Lewis claims three ways; baptism, belief, and communion.

Lewis sees these three things as the way in which the Christ-life in us is nourished. There is a dichotomy in that while our efforts did not acquire the Christ-life, it cannot be fully nourished by our efforts. And yet the efforts made by our participation in baptism, and communion work to strengthen, nourish, and validate the belief we profess. Through both Christ’s work and our cooperation, the Christ-life keeps us on the path of repentance and restoration to God. Lewis describes it clearly when he writes, “he does not think that God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”

By making us good, God makes us useful. I resonate with Lewis’ apparent belief that being alive in the body implies being an active member of the body. In other words, there is something God has for each of his children to be about DOING. There is hands-on ministry to be done here. The waters of baptism, the bread, and the wine are earthly elements that keep us from becoming too heavenly minded in our belief. The metaphor of the body also illustrates the importance of every person’s contribution being valuable and necessary. Lewis implies that one who is not active in the body is not a real part of it. Charles Spurgeon offers a similar observation, “He who does nothing believes nothing. Faith is but an empty show if produces nothing in your life. I will venture to say of any lazy man that he has little or no faith in God; for faith always worketh.”

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